CSIR-NIIST Commercialises Technology for Making Agro-waste Leather Substitutes

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:
The CSIR-National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science and Technology (NIIST) here today commercialised an innovative technology to manufacture leather from agro-residues, providing an alternative to animal and synthetic leather in an environment-friendly and cost-effective manner.

This is among threemilestone agreements signed on transfer of technologies developed by scientists of NIIST.

The tie-ups with government and private organisations were formalised in the presence of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Director General Dr. N Kalaiselvi and CSIR-NIIST Research Council Chairman Prof Javed Iqbal and CSIR-NIIST Director Dr C. Anandharamakrishnan at a function at Bhatnagar Auditorium at the institute here.

The pacts, inked at the ongoing ‘One Week One Lab Programme’ (OWOL) at the institute, also included NIIST’s collaboration for indigenous development of thermal-plate components for Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE)-DRDO and a transfer of technology for sustainable management of pathogenic biomedical waste into soil additives.

NIIST’s agro-waste leather substitutes, developed from various agricultural residues and byproducts, has the capacity to effectively replace 30-50 per cent of synthetic chemicals from the existing leather available in the market.

The leather sheet developed from mango peels, banana stems, pineapple wastes, cactus, water hyacinth, corn husk, rice related wastes, costs half that of the synthetic and animal leather. Also, the new product has smaller carbon footprint. The MoU was signed with Streekaya Services Pvt Ltd.

The final product from agricultural residues has shown strong tensile strength, perfect finish, good water-retention properties, temperature resistance and stability compared to other existing synthetic and animal leather.The product has a shelf life of more than three years. Its eco-friendliness makes agro-waste leather substitutes a better counter to the synthetic variety, which has a booming market valued at $30 billion in 2020 and likely to hit $40 billion by the end of this decade. The synthetic leather involves toxic chemicals, making it a huge environmental hazard besides its high consumption of energy and water during processing.

As for the second agreement, NIIST will provide technological support to Al-SiC MMC thermal management components that are currently imported and used by ADE-DRDO, Bangalore in Flight Control Computers of Light Combat Aircraft and other fighter aircraft. CSIR’s Dr Kalaiselvi handed over the product to Defence Research and Development Organisation.

CSIR-NIIST, in collaboration with ADE-DRDO, indigenously developed Al-SiC thermal plate component by liquid metal squeeze infiltration technique matching the thermal properties of the imported component. It will contribute in a big way towards import substitution and the national mission of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ in the country’s strategic sector.

Further, NIIST tied up with Bio Vastum Solutions (BVS) to give the Kerala startup a technology for spontaneous disinfection and immobilization of pathogenic biomedical waste into soil additives. This system, with inherent antimicrobial activity, is capable of disinfecting both liquid as well as solid waste in complete solidification. The treated waste can be disposed as non-regulated medical waste subject to regulatory approval. BVS Pvt. Ltd is based at Angamaly in Ernakulam district.

The OWOL aims at showcasing the legacy, exclusive innovations and technological breakthrough achieved by each of 37 laboratories of CSIR that would support entrepreneurial development in a wide range of areas. NIIST, as a constituent laboratory of CSIR, seeks to further leverage its successful scientific and technological research for the wellbeing of society.

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